Working safely with display screen equipment

As an employer, you must protect your workers from the health risks of working with display screen equipment such as PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphones.
The regulations apply to workers who use DSE daily (for an hour or more at a time). We describe these workers as DSE users. The regulations don't apply to workers who use DSE infrequently or only use it for a short time.

How to protect workers' health

The law applies if users are, for example:

  • at a fixed workstation
  • mobile workers
  • home workers
  • hot-desking (workers should carry out a basic risk assessment if they change desks regularly)

Employers must:

  • do a DSE workstation assessment
  • reduce risks, including making sure that DSE users take breaks or do a different type of work for a period of time
  • provide eye tests reimbursement of eye tests to all employees who are regular DSE users
  • provide training and information for employees

Incorrect use of DSE or poorly designed workstations or work environments can lead to pain in necks, shoulders, backs, arms, wrists and hands as well as fatigue and eye strain. They can be caused by poor design of work stations (and associated equipment such as chairs), insufficient space, lack of training or not taking breaks from display screen work. Sometimes the causes will not be obvious.

DSE workstations and assessment

If workers use DSE on a daily basis, as part of their normal work, continuously for one hour or more, employers must carry out a workstation assessment.

Employers should look at:

  • the whole workstation, including equipment, furniture and work conditions
  • the job being done
  • any special requirement of a member of staff, for example a user with a disability.

Where there are risks identified, employers should take steps to reduce them.

Employers must do an assessment when:

  • a new workstation is set up
  • a new user starts work
  • a change is made to an existing workstation or the way it's used
  • users complain of pain or discomfort